UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Premature Spinal Bone Loss in Women Living with HIV is Associated with Shorter Leukocyte Telomere Length Kalyan, Shirin; Pick, Neora; Mai, Alice; Murray, Melanie C. M.; Kidson, Kristen; Chu, Jackson; Albert, Arianne Y. K.; Côté, Hélène C. F.; Maan, Evelyn J.; Goshtasebi, Azita; Money, Deborah M.; Prior, Jerilynn C.


With advances in combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), people living with HIV are now surviving to experience aging. Evidence suggests that individuals living with HIV are at greater risk for low bone mineral density (BMD), osteoporosis, and fractures. Better understanding of the pathophysiology of bone health in women living with HIV (WLWH) is important for treatment strategies. The goal of this study was to explore new biological factors linked to low BMD in WLWH. Standardized BMD measures of WLWH were compared to reference values from an unselected population of women from the same geographical region of the same age range. Linear regression analysis was used to assess relationships among health-related characteristics, cellular aging (measured by leukocyte telomere length; LTL), cART, and BMD of WLWH. WLWH (n = 73; mean age 43 ± 9 years) had lower BMD Z-scores at the lumbar spine (LS) (mean difference = −0.39, p < 0.001) and total hip (TH) (−0.29, p = 0.012) relative to controls (n = 290). WLWH between 50 and 60 years (n = 17) had lower Z-scores at the LS (p = 0.008) and TH (p = 0.027) compared to controls (n = 167). Among WLWH, LS BMD was significantly associated with LTL (R² = 0.09, p = 0.009) and BMI (R² = 0.06, p = 0.042). Spinal BMD was adversely affected in WLWH. Reduction of LTL was strongly associated with lower BMD and may relate to its pathophysiology and premature aging in WLWH.

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